Thursday, September 10, 2015

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley a Champion for Special Education

Last year, Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley held a statewide "listening tour" around the needs of families with
kids in special education.

Today, he made this presentation (short, easy to read) to a very interested Michigan Board of Education.
Lt. Governor Brian Calley

Calley's key points:

1) Develop a more inclusive and transparent rulemaking process

Michigan needs to develop a better system for informing and engaging with consumers of special education services before and during the rulemaking process. 

2) Improve access to, and the scope and quality of, services

Many parents reported that there is an expectation that children fit into the school’s structure, rather than the school providing what the child needs. Schools should have services that are better tailored to the specific needs of the child. Individual Education Plans (IEPs) should indeed be individualized. 
3) End the practices of restraint and seclusion

Using restraint and seclusion in schools is far more common than many people believe. Years ago, the state Board of Education established a policy significantly limiting the use of these practices to instances involving imminent danger to a child or their peers. This policy, however, does not carry the force of law and is ultimately voluntary.
Michigan Radio did a nice piece on this part of Calley's report.

4) Create a better dispute resolution process

Too many IEP disputes result in lawsuits and drawn-out confrontations. When a parent believes their child is not receiving the public education they are entitled to, in the least restrictive environment, there should be a better option than litigation. 
5) Support parents more with resources and options

Families need to understand what their rights are and how the IEP process works. Many described being overwhelmed and confused and even feeling "run over" as they went through what is supposed to be a collaborative process to help their child.

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